Park Engagement Times and Letters

This coming weekend there are two kinds of opportunities to engage with the park. On Saturday morning from 9 to about 11:30, a crew of volunteers will head for the Native Plant Area to water and cultivate the approximately 40 native plants that volunteers put in the ground last November. We have been hand-watering these plants about every two weeks and they are doing well. Bob Huttar, Chavez Park Conservancy Volunteer Coordinator, writes:

It’s time to give our 40 native plants some water, love and attention. We will have hoses this time to at least bring the refilling stations for the watering jugs closer to the plantings. Actually bringing the hose directly to the plants might even be possible. 

While there we will also be doing other chores like weeding, removing invasive plants and pruning dead branches. If you would like to help bring hand clippers, loppers, trowels and/or hori-horis, gloves (leather if you want to work on blackberry). Long pants and sturdy shoes/boots are best and don’t forget to bring water, a snack, sunblock and a hat.

We will be meeting this Saturday morning, July 9 at 9:00 am at the parking circle at the west end of Spinnaker Way and expect to work until about 11:30.

Hope to see you there! 
Bob Huttar 949 307-5918

To read about recent stewardship outings of this kind, click here and here and here.

The other engagement opportunity is to staff the Public Information Booth where the Conservancy distributes flyers about the BMASP proposals and engages in conversations about the park’s future with park visitors. To see recent outings, click here and here. The booth sets up in the southeast corner of the park, near the intersection of Marina Boulevard and Spinnaker Way.

The Public Information Booth is scheduled to be open on Saturday from noon. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm. If you can give an hour or two to staff the table, please email info@chavezpark.org or just show up. If you would like to distribute flyers as you walk in the park or in your neighborhood, you can pick some up at the booth, or if you need them earlier please email info@chavezpark.org.

Hope to see you at one or another of these times to engage with the park, to improve it and save it.

Now here are some recent letters. More tomorrow.

Letter From Stefanie Pruegel

I’m writing in response to the Berkeley Marina Area Specific Plan (BMASP) proposal for the Berkeley Marina/César Chávez park.

The plan would transform the park from a place of relief from urban stress and for enjoyment of nature into a high-pressure commercial amusement park. We do NOT need more money-making schemes: hotels, food courts, events pavilion, or a large adventure playground for adults.

Currently, the park is amazing and beautiful, serving a diverse community of people with varied interests: walking, running, cycling, birding, flying kites, meditating, singing, playing music, sailing, enjoying the wildlife and the quiet.

The park does not need any more development, leading to the destruction of this beautiful environment. We need to keep our beautiful waterfront park and continue to support its maintenance, not further development.

Please put an end to this ill-conceived idea immediately.

Stefanie Pruegel

Letter From Carol Denney AKA Grace Underpressure, Editor, Pepper Spray Times

When I first read about the proposal envisioning a concert venue and amusement park with concessions at Cesar Chavez Park I thought someone had far outstripped my talents as a satirist and cartoonist. This is the same city council which had recently signed off the Cesar Chavez Park Conservancy group’s Chancellor’s Grant supporting native plants, pollinator gardens, and the restoration of the Design Advocates Working with Nature (DAWN) group’s efforts of thirty years ago — right in the area where they want to put a zip line. I’m one of the people working hard doing volunteer planting, weeding, and watering the restoration plants.

The park workers are clear-headed as we are about the necessity of stepping up to make sure we seed and plant ahead of climate change to nurture native plants in this changing era, and the network of volunteers and supportive community members are not a group looking for a nifty new concert venue. They know that our natural world is quite literally under fire, and that we hope to carefully restore and if possible expand the respite that all species require to heal and grow in natural settings. 

Hello? Is there anybody at City Hall awake? Have the numbing Zoom meetings finally taken their toll so that no one knows or cares if there’s continuity or clarity in our response to environmental crisis or parks? Does a town over-saturated with under-filled venues need an over-amped commercial venue competing with them right literally feet from a nature preserve where not only people who need respite from city noise and pressures but wildlife are struggling for habitat? 

Please don’t confuse the very real needs at the marina with this bizarre common sense-free Disneyfication of our most beautiful city park. Monetization of our parks is not the answer to your overspending on merchant association stationery.

Letter From Jamie Brown

I have been enjoying this treasure of open natural space for well over 30 years as a tax paying adult and I am wholeheartedly AGAINST the development proposal of Ceasar Chavez. It will destroy Cesar Chavez Park as it is now, and the park is fine as it is now. The community does not need another hotel in Berkeley, especially when it will destroy burrowing owl habitat among other environmentally important aspects of the park.  

Important to add, the proposed big dedicated Events Space and Events Pavilion don’t serve local needs. They’re bait for big commercial operations out for a profit. These operators know how to sweet-talk gullible city staffers (and money-hungry candidates) with promises of big revenue while actually draining the local coffers for externalities like police and fire overtime and cleanup. These kinds of events not only lose money, but they also hijack the environment, poison the habitat, and degrade nature.

Each of the large events projected for the Events Space and the Events Pavilion would bring major noise pollution to the park, heavy traffic and parking congestion, not to mention tobacco and alcohol use, littering, and violence. Forget taking a quiet walk in the park. Forget nature — anything with wings or legs or a belly to crawl on runs away or hides when a Big Event happens and for quite a while afterward. For some species, a single such disturbance during nesting season is enough to guarantee that they never come back.

Please keep the park as it is, and let the community aid in making decisions to support around park improvements that are in alignment with creating natural habitat and natural beauty for all the inhabitants that live in and around Cesar Chavez park.

Sincerely

Jamie Brown ASW, PPSC

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